We consider the vast sweep of Central Asian history, from the first nomads to tame the horse and gain mastery of the steppes, to the splendrous cities of the first Silk Road, to the rise of Ghenghis Khan. Few Westerners learn the dizzyingly complex and tumultuous history of Central Asia, even though it forms the linchpin connecting all the major civilizations of the Old World, from Europe to Persia to China. Finally, we consider the unsettling paradox of the Mongol empire, which fostered a vibrant cosmopolitanism at the same time that it brutally repressed subject peoples.
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Suggested further reading: Peter Golden, "Central Asia in World History"; Gavin Hambly, "Central Asia"; Rene Grousset, "The Empire of the Steppes"